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Fawlty Towers without the Fawltys

John Cleese: "I remember at a party I met these chaps from Viacom, who said they were working on a new Fawlty Towers. My ears pricked up at the sound of cash registers and said, 'That's wonderful, are you going to change anything?'. They said, 'Well we have changed one thing, we've written Basil out'. And that's absolutely true, they took Basil and Sybil's lines and gave them all to Bea Arthur." The resulting effort was a 1983 ABC series called Amanda’s By the Sea which could charitably be described as a fiasco. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Feb 24, 2014 - 68 comments

Apparently, Geraldo Rivera is immortal.

Forty years before "Modern Family" and "The Bachelor", ABC was... well, you can see for yourself: A thirty-three minute promo for the American Broadcasting Company from 1974.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Feb 10, 2014 - 80 comments

"The story of Lost makes no sense."

'I pretty much wanted to die', an excerpt from Alan Sepinwall's The Revolution Was Televised.
posted by IvoShandor on Nov 29, 2012 - 61 comments

The Brady Bunch Variety Hour

On November 28, 1976, ABC televised the premiere of The Brady Bunch Variety Hour. Few who saw it would ever forget it. [more inside]
posted by Egg Shen on Oct 24, 2012 - 89 comments

Hold the Line. (War Isn't Always On Time.)"

Based on Robert Kennedy's book Thirteen Days, with a stunning cast and a riveting screenplay, broadcast a scant 12 years after the event... The Missiles of October. [more inside]
posted by timsteil on Oct 16, 2012 - 20 comments

My So-Called Life

There are some TV shows that last for years and years, and when they finally go away, they're barely missed. And then there is the phenomenon of the TV show that dies quickly but leaves an indelible mark. Ten years ago, ABC fielded such a show: My So-Called Life, produced by the thirtysomething team of Edward Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz, premiered on Thursday, August 25, 1994 -- and was quickly reduced to ratings rubble by another new 8 p.m. series, NBC's Friends. But in 19 sublime episodes, Life left a lasting pop-culture legacy. Not only did it launch the careers of Claire Danes and Jared Leto, it defined the modern family drama -- and has influenced an entire generation of television writers. Says Greg Berlanti, the creator of The WB's Everwood and Jack & Bobby, ''It's the most painfully honest portrayal of adolescence ever on television.''
posted by Egg Shen on Sep 3, 2012 - 53 comments

ABC Funfit with Mary Lou Retton

Mary Lou Retton - "It's Your Move"* [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Jun 2, 2012 - 43 comments

Is the 2011-2012 Sitcom Schedule the Worst in a Decade?

Splitsider asks "Is the 2011-2012 Sitcom Schedule the Worst in a Decade?"
posted by reenum on Nov 10, 2011 - 163 comments

"Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders" (1979)

Your NFL team probably has cheerleaders. But this team's cheerleaders had a movie made about them. And because they're from a place where they like to do things big, when that movie was broadcast, it was viewed on 60% of the televisions in use at the time. [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Sep 8, 2011 - 78 comments

"Dana is playing Bill Clinton literally breastfeeding puppies—that was our introduction to America."

GQ: Teats Out: An Oral History of the Rise and Fall (and Rise) of "The Dana Carvey Show." "Steve Carell. Stephen Colbert. Louis C.K. Charlie Kaufman. Robert Smigel. Some of comedy's greatest minds got one of their biggest breaks on the short-lived but much-loved "The Dana Carvey Show." Fifteen years later, in this exclusive oral history, the players recount the brief but fertile life of a truly unusual show", all eight episodes of which are available on Hulu. (Previously) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Aug 9, 2011 - 33 comments

Previously on Lost

On the cusp of the long-awaited series finale of Lost, people are understandably confused. Fortunately there are plenty of ways to catch up, from the fan compendium Lostpedia to the 2-hour ABC recap tonight at 7:00 EST to YouTube summaries of Seasons 1-5 from ABC (in 8:15) and from costumed fans (in five minutes). As for longtime fans, why not reminisce by revisiting the show's infamous bookends -- the artfully inscrutable scenes which introduce or conclude each season? Look inside for these and more, along with a cavalcade of interesting fan videos and other fun stuff. [Warning: Spoilers (for everything but the series finale) inside] [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on May 23, 2010 - 1195 comments

Trusting the FOX

Fox News is the most trusted news network in the United States, according to a new poll [.pdf] of 1,151 Americans conducted by Public Policy Polling (a polling firm with a mostly Democratic and progressive list of clients), the most trusted news network among Americans is FOX News, which was trusted by 49% of respondents (beating out CNN, MS-NBC, CBS, NBC, and ABC (though PBS was not included in the survey)). The pollsters conclude: “A generation ago you would have expected Americans to place their trust in the most neutral and unbiased conveyors of news,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “But the media landscape has really changed and now they’re turning more toward the outlets that tell them what they want to hear.”
posted by washburn on Jan 26, 2010 - 126 comments

Upside down! Upside down!

Mr Squiggle, the Man from 93 Crater Crescent, the Moon, turns 50 today. Created by cartoonist and puppeteer Norman Hetherington, who would take children's scribbles and then craft it into a drawing, Mr Squiggle, along with friends Gus the Snail, Bill the Steam Shovel and the ever grumpy Blackboard (whom Mr Squiggle would use as an easel, being told to "Hu-rry u-p, hu-rry u-p" as he did) has been something of an institution for generations of Australian kids. Relive some of the magic...
posted by Effigy2000 on Jun 30, 2009 - 18 comments

20 Years Of Supercilious Gits

Twenty years old this year, fifteen-minute long Australian television programme Media Watch criticises television and print journalism. (Previously).
posted by Fiasco da Gama on May 7, 2009 - 17 comments

15 Minutes of Infamy

After appearing last month on the ABC reality television show 'Wife Swap,' "San Francisco resident Stephen Fowler was forced to resign from the boards of two nonprofits, allegedly received e-mailed death threats and stood on the sidelines as his wife, Renee Stephens, issued a public statement condemning his behavior and asking him to get 'professional help.'...Thanks to online TV and easy access to private information, Fowler's 15 minutes of fame have snowballed beyond his control." "What has generated such wrath is Fowler's condescending treatment of Gayla Long, a mother of four from rural Missouri....In wince-producing remarks, Fowler, who is British, wrote off middle America with such pronouncements as 'Your two languages seem to be bad English and redneck.'" Video highlights - 1, 2. [more inside]
posted by ericb on Feb 21, 2009 - 168 comments

Police Squad! In Color

In 1982, the comedy team of Zucker, Abrahams, and Zucker introduced Police Squad! to network TV viewers. It lasted six episodes before being cancelled. What, you missed it? You weren't even born? Here are episodes two, three, and four. [more inside]
posted by not_on_display on Jan 27, 2009 - 84 comments

Not with a bang but with a televised political satire

"We don't vote for them, we don't even know their names and we're not quite sure what they do. But they wield enormous influence. They are the power behind the power. They are The Hollowmen." You can watch the Australian Broadcasting Company's new political satire The Hollowmen [warning: sound] on the web. Or you can find it via Bittorrent. (Or if you live down under I suppose you could watch it on ABC 1 Wednesdays at 9pm or ABC 2 Thursdays at 8:30pm.) It's worth a look because it may be the funniest new satire on any English-language network. [more inside]
posted by sdodd on Sep 12, 2008 - 18 comments

The Mike Wallace Interview(s)

"My name is Mike Wallace. The cigarette is Philip Morris." Before there was 60 Minutes, there was The Mike Wallace Interview. Thirty minutes with Steve Allen, Frank Lloyd Wright, Kirk Douglas, Pearl Buck, and Salvador Dali, to name just a few.
posted by steef on Apr 4, 2008 - 16 comments

The Magic of ABC starring David Copperfield, 1977

How do you fit Fred "Rerun" Berry, Shaun Cassidy, Howard Cosell, Kate Jackson, Hal Linden, Penny Marhsall, Kristy McNichol, Donny & Marie, Parker Stevenson, Dick Van Patten, Adam Rich, Abe Vigoda, and Cindy Williams all into a single 48 minute TV show? It would take a magician like David Copperfield, in his first television special in 1977.
posted by The Deej on Aug 18, 2007 - 42 comments

Coming soon: boffo Hugh Grant gecko pic!

ABC is developing another new comedy pilot. Based on? Geico caveman commercials, of course. Because that kind of thing has worked so well before.
posted by miss lynnster on Mar 2, 2007 - 62 comments

Free TV on the Net

ABC Streams full episodes of Lost, Alias, Desperate Housewives and Commmander in Chief for free in May via flash.
posted by blue_beetle on May 1, 2006 - 54 comments

I Don't If I Should Laugh or Cry

Andy Griffith Beats Jessica Lynch Interview for Viewers
Well sure, it was for the Andy Griffith Reunion Show. What was ABC thinking putting Diane Sawyer and Jessica "Selective Amnesia" Lynch up against Andy, Opie and Aunt Bea?
posted by fenriq on Nov 12, 2003 - 23 comments

I'll rip yer bloody arms off...

The greatest TV show you will probably never see: Aunty Jack, a ten-foot tall, boxing-glove wearing, motor-cycling, moustached cross-dresser, was the star of The Aunty Jack Show, which ran for thirteen episodes in 1972-73 on the Australian Broadcasting Commission TV network (and was the first show broadcast on Australian TV in colour). Many of the original episodes have been lost (but records of them exist). Re-release on video or DVD of the remaining episodes is tangled up in copyright issues. The 1974 album Aunty Jack Sings Wollongong was re-released on CD, and still seems to be available. It includes such classics as 'Fish Milkshakes' and 'Teenage Butcher' and the song 'Farewell Aunty Jack', which was a number 1 hit in Australia. Some samples can be found here. There were spinoffs from Aunty Jack, most notably the Norman Gunston Show, with Norman playing the prototypical terrrible interviewer and inspiring the much later Ali G, Dennis Pennis and many others. I was two years old when the series aired: Aunty Jack's threat at the end of each episode, that: 'If you don't watch next week, I'll rip your bloody arm off!' meant that I never, ever, missed it.
posted by chrisgregory on Jan 30, 2003 - 33 comments

Koppel

ABC lets Koppel do his thing. Have you watched "Up Close", Ted Koppel's in-depth interview segment? NYTimes does a good job describing how Ted has chosen to be himself (i.e., high-brow and ministerial) with scant disregard to ratings. Is this type of program the antidote to the media's obsessive and corruptive focus on ratings?
posted by SandeepKrishnamurthy on Dec 3, 2002 - 19 comments

The Truth Squad

The Truth Squad - ABC News wants your help. Specifically, the ABCNEWS Political Unit Election Watchdog (PUEW), looking to keep upcoming elections as truthful as possible, wants you to gather up your election mail; take notes about the campaign-related phone calls you get; and send them your tips and credible accounts, so that they can go through them. They have a page of descriptions of what they are looking for. Are they expecting things to be particularly ugly? Are they trying to dig something up, or is this really an attempt to neutralize election season lies?
posted by mikhail on Sep 27, 2002 - 8 comments

Go to Mickey D's. Watch ABC. Get happy. Go to Mickey D's. Watch ABC. Get happy. Go to Mickey D's. Watch ABC. Get...

Go to Mickey D's. Watch ABC. Get happy. Go to Mickey D's. Watch ABC. Get happy. Go to Mickey D's. Watch ABC. Get... Under a deal to be announced today, McDonald's Corp. will heavily promote ABC's 8-to-9 p.m. slot, which the network has called the "Happy Hour." "The mantra of this campaign is: 'Go to Mickey D's, watch ABC, get happy,' " said Michael Benson, ABC's senior vice president for marketing, advertising and promotion, who helped assemble the deal.

Funny. I thought "happy hour" meant cheap beer and free wings.
posted by NedKoppel on Sep 9, 2002 - 37 comments

As a follow-up to his original story, discussed here, Paul Sheehan has written an article detailing recent developments, including reaction from an ABC science show. If this is true, it has enormous implications for our health care.
posted by emf on Sep 1, 2002 - 11 comments

You tell'm Ted!

You tell'm Ted! (nyt link) Koppel is first to publically denounce accusations that Nightline is irrelevant or lacks a competitive edge in the late night wars. David Letterman is still strangely silent about rumors that ABC is trying to steal him from CBS to replace Ted Koppel's long-running news program. Perhaps after publically ribbing Oprah Winfrey & getting the cold shoulder, Letterman has learned when not to open his mouth? ..nah!
posted by ZachsMind on Mar 5, 2002 - 14 comments

ABC : Get ready for ``Must Pee TV.''

ABC : Get ready for ``Must Pee TV.''
So, imagine, there you are, at the urinal, trying to make peace, when Norm's sexist melon is right in your face, saying "Oh my God, look at the size of that thing!"; "Hey watch your shoes!"; "You're a mover and shaker, and so am I."; "visual tag lines" like: "Another fine use of the color yellow." "The campaign is designed to raise awareness that the series has been moved to ABC's Friday schedule. The audience will understand when we're done that (Friday) is an adult night of comedy."
posted by tiaka on Jul 17, 2000 - 9 comments

Time Warner Pulls ABC

Time Warner Pulls ABC Get used to this kind of thing, as mega corp. 1 takes on mega corp. 2 to control what you see.
posted by alan on May 1, 2000 - 9 comments

Clerks: The Animated Series

Clerks: The Animated Series is coming to ABC in May (here's a preview in quicktime format). How far will ABC let slacking, smoking, cursing vandals go? Are they gunning for SouthPark? I can't imagine a watered-down version of Clerks being very funny at all, the whole point of Clerks the movie was the absurdity of the dialogue and jokes. Don't get me wrong, I used to be an über Kevin Smith fan, but I just can't imagine enjoying a kid-friendly version of the New Jersey universe.
posted by mathowie on Mar 7, 2000 - 9 comments

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